CASW Represents Canadian Professional Social Workers
Founded in 1926 to monitor employment conditions and to establish standards of practice within the profession, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) has evolved into a national voice. The CASW Federation is comprised of 10 provincial and territorial partner organizations.
The CASW Board of Directors determines and oversees general and financial policies. With each provincial/territorial partner organization appointing one member to the Board, a unified voice for the Canadian social work profession is assured. The Board of Directors works from a national and, indeed, an international perspective to benefit the social work profession.
Provincial/territorial input into the deliberations of CASW is guaranteed through an Annual General Meeting between the CASW Board and Provincial/Territorial Presidents.
Adopted October 2014
CASW promotes the profession of social work in Canada and advances social justice.
CASW Ends or Directions
Adopted by the CASW Board 2023
CASW exists so that the social work profession is respected as a unique, diverse, and credible profession, in Canada and Internationally.
- CASW is committed to promoting a clear understanding of the scope of practice for social workers in Canada.
- CASW is committed to defining parameters of social work practice to provide guidance to policy makers to ensure social work perspectives are considered in the societal context.
a. Informing and educating decision makers so that policy development is consistent with social work values and principles.
b. Strengthen diversity in social work practice, social services, Social Determinants of Health, and inclusion within the Canadian context.
- CASW is committed to ensuring that Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging are at the forefront of all our actions and recommendations.
- CASW is committed to Social Workers having access to a broad base of information and tools enhancing:
a. Their knowledge, practice, and well-being.
b. Individual and collective journeys of reconciliation.
On a national level, CASW has adopted a pro-active approach to issues pertinent to social policy/social work. It produces and distributes timely information for its members, and special projects are initiated and sponsored.
CASW representatives serve on coalitions and participate on a host of affiliated, nationwide committees on a continuing basis. As well, they provide consultation with government, other professional and non-governmental groups and, of course, the general public.
To preserve the highest degree of excellence within the profession, CASW provides assessment of academic qualifications of non-North American social workers who wish to practise in Canada.
CASW is active in the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), providing leadership within the IFSW Executive as well as within the North American Region. The expertise of CASW in social policy, its concern for social justice and its continued role in social advocacy is recognized and called upon by IFSW.
The Canadian Association of Social Workers’ (CASW) national office is located on the traditional, unceded, and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People, land now known to many as Ottawa, Ontario. This land remains home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
CASW is national federation comprised of Partner Organizations across the land now known to many as Canada. So, while the national office is in Ottawa, CASW’s work takes place on the traditional land of many different nations across Turtle Island.
As the national professional association for social work in Canada, it is critical to acknowledge not only our relationship to land, and to colonialism, but also our organization’s and our profession’s direct harms to Indigenous peoples and communities: to begin this key element of reconciliation, CASW released its Statement of Apology and Commitment to Reconciliation in 2019. Find an excerpt below.
"CASW acknowledges its role in supporting the implementation of residential schools and affirming the approach to child welfare that led to the 60s scoop through the promotion of discriminatory policies with the underlying motivation to dispossess Indigenous peoples from their land. CASW deeply apologizes for contributing to the injustices imposed on Indigenous peoples and, in this statement, seeks to highlight some of the ways in which CASW was – and in many ways still is -- responsible for the systemic denial and inequality that has been apparent in the field of social work.
CASW hopes that by publicly acknowledging, with humility, past and ongoing wrongdoings will begin an honest and transparent dialogue as we continue on the path of reconciliation. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report, “the importance of truth telling in its own right should not be underestimated; it restores the human dignity of victims of violence and calls governments and citizens to account. This is CASW’s truth."
CASW will continue to call for the full and sincere implementation of the TRC’s Calls to Action and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Calls to Justice. We encourage all social workers to commit to their own journeys of reconciliation while advocating for the implementation of these recommendations by directly holding the Government of Canada to account through your Member of Parliament and Senator.
CASW is committed to actively engage in training and education related to reconciliation and decolonization. In our ongoing work, CASW aim to establish meaningful partnerships with Indigenous colleagues and organizations. CASW is committed to learning from and working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Together we hope to address systemic inequalities and strive for social justice for all.
To learn more, please visit the CASW Reconciliation Hub.
By joining the appropriate provincial /territorial social workers’ organizations, social workers automatically become affiliated with the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Because of its broad-based membership, CASW is able to offer the benefits and advantages associated with a professional organization, such as insurance packages that include professional liability insurance, group life, disability, and a retirement plan.
In June 2011, CASW adopted individual membership categories in order to maintain a viable national voice. Individual memberships are being offered only to regions of Canada that do not have Partner Organizations (Québec). CASW individual memberships will be subject to, and come into force upon final approval of CASW Bylaws by Industry Canada.
Publishing, Producing, Distributing
The Code of Ethics, national policy and position papers, research projects, and reports are also produced by CASW. CASW also acts as a clearinghouse for its member organizations, providing information related to social work policy and practice.
CASW Social Policy, Position Statements & Issue Response
All CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses are grounded in CASW Social Policy Principles.
The process behind developing CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses are grounded in the foundational documents of the federation. CASW Bylaws and adopted Policy-Governance define roles, responsibilities and the limitations of the differing yet equally valued roles in developing CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses.
CASW Policy-Governance is also clear that CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses must be congruent with the Mission of CASW and the Strategic Directions adopted by the CASW Board.
The CASW Social Policy Principles are used by the CASW to guide evaluation of federal social policy initiatives. The social policy principles are identified with a statement that indicates implications for practice.